Friday, May 23, 2014

Terrific Energy, Cities, and Complex Systems Workshop in Magical Erice, Sicily

Last week I was in beautiful Erice, Sicily, where I had been once before, back in 2006, also for a workshop.

This time, I was an invited speaker at the Workshop on Energy, Cities, and Control of Complex Systems organized by Drs. Adilson Motter and Robert Schock.  Dr. Motter is a Professor at Northwestern University and Dr. Schock is a Senior Fellow on Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore Lab in Berkeley.  Dr. Schock, this past week, received an honorary degree from his undergrad alma mater, Colorado College, so congratulations are in order! In the photo above I am standing with Dr. Schock who has a PhD from RPI.

The venue for the workshop was the Ettore Majorana Scientific Center, which was originally 4 monasteries with the bells pealing regularly to remind us of that point.

The workshop convened physicists, engineers, transportation researchers, network scientists, a computer scientist (from IBM), as well as energy researchers, an atmospheric scientist, a statistician, several policy makers (including one from Toronto, Canada), and an operations researcher and network economist (me).

This was a multidisciplinary workshop with talks ranging from those with not a single equation to those with many beautiful equations. Quite a few of the talks were on network themes, which I appreciated very much as well as the emphasis on nonlinear dynamics.

My presentation was on Sustainable Supply Chains for Sustainable Cities.

The workshop took place in a room with not great acoustics but with frescoes on the walls.

The meals were provided and the food was delicious - with fish caught that morning and with cannolis that we consumed and did not get heart attacks from. Perhaps it was all the oranges that we ate.

We were picked up at the Palermo airport and bussed through the beautiful hills of Sicily covered with poppies and other flowers to historic Erice.

Now I am back in Gothenburg, Sweden, where, interestingly, it is very warm, whereas it was quite cool in Sicily!